Thursday, June 8, 2017

Movie (Pre) Review: Megan Leavey

Megan Leavey (Bleeker Street, 9 June 2017, 1 hour 56 minutes, Rated PG 13)

Preview (Pre-Release) Review (It opens tomorrow)

This is the movie you wanted and waited to see – about a young woman Marine and her sniffer* dog Rex, deployed to Iraq, injured, and finally reunited. The movie opens tomorrow, June 9, 2017 (or, in some theaters, late tonight). It is best seen on the big screen to ‘enjoy’ the surprising moments even better!

Megan Leavey is a tear-jerker without being a tear-jerker and you will feel darn GOOD when it’s over (not good that it’s over, but you will leave with a good feeling in your heart).

The ‘bestest’ scene occurs when Leavey’s father goads her into joining the world of the living again, by fighting to adopt Rex. Don’t miss that heartfelt, inspiring scene!

“Based on a true story.” Yes, I saw all the holes in this movie – the speeding through dog training, the independence of Marines, the parts of deployed life that just weren’t there and the parts that were. But, on the whole, it is an enjoyable flick and I predict it will be seen by hoards of dog people and many veterans and even more teen girls. (Yes, there is a tiny romance and some party scenes.)

A Long Experience

Megan Leavey is a long film that is less than two hours in length. It takes us through a small town in New York where our hero is a failure at a dead-end job so why not join the Marines? Boot Camp looks like fun! (Note: it isn’t.) And Leavey somehow manages to work her way up in the Marines so she can be a dog handler.

But then they (dog and Marine) are deployed to Iraq where much of the movie takes place. The viewer gets a good picture of a Middle-East deployment (but not totally realistic) and then - both dog and Marine are injured, separated to heal apart. Megan becomes a civilian once again and fights to adopt her partner, Sergeant Rex**. (spoiler: she does succeed, finally).

A Top Gun for Female Marines

Remember Top Gun? Remember what it did for Naval aviation recruiting? Megan Leavey will do the same for female Marine dog handler recruitment (or, for those who are not quite of the ilk of “The Few, The Proud,” then for the Army or the Navy or the Air Force) just as the Middle East conflicts are winding down. Cowabunga.

Can you imagine being a woman and having a movie named after you?

An excellent movie is one that I would see again (e.g., To Kill a Mockingbird). Megan Leavey is a good movie and I just might see it again if I went with a few civilians (or all veterans!) to prod them for what they thought was realistic (like the group counseling scene). They would probably say that all of it looked real and, chances are, if they are young women, they would want to see Megan Leavey again. Especially if they have a dog.

And that’s not a bad thing. Get ready for the uptick in recruiting, Marines!

*Look for Rex’ ‘alerts’ – he sits. And, don’t miss the real Megan Leavey as a drill instructor in the first few minutes. As an aside, military working dogs (MWDs) wear one rank above their handlers: this is why Megan is a corporal (promoted from Private First Class) while Rex is a sergeant.

**Amazing coincidence: another of Rex’ handlers wrote the excellent Sergeant Rex: The Unbreakable Bond Between a Marine and His Military Working Dog – Mike Dowling.
Dog Evals will review this title in the near future also.

Caveat: DogEvals was sent a pre-release two-day link to this movie in order to review it. I’m glad I did review it!

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